Friday, July 28, 2017

Meet one of New York State's biggest Race Fans

Meet Aaron Fisher, a 20 year old NASCAR superfan from Oneonta, New York. You may recognize him from last year's Six Hours of The Glen, where he was spotted in the crowd by Joe Sahlen and chosen to hand out trophies in Gatorade Victory Lane to some of his favorite drivers.

We sat down with Aaron to talk about his favorite racing memories and what keeps him coming back to The Glen.



Q: How did you get into racing?
A: I have had a love for cars since I was born. I used to stare at cars rolling up and down our street when I was as young as two years old. It's the only thing I've ever known. When I was 6 (in 2003) my uncle introduced me to NASCAR and I've loved it ever since. Since then I have grown to love any kind or racing. If it races, I'll watch it!

Q: How many NASCAR races have you been to?
A: At this point, I've been to 34 Cup races, 12 Xfinity series races, 6 Truck series races, 4 K&N Pro Series East, and 2 Modified Tour. That makes... 58 total!

Q: Who are some of your favorites?
A: I'm a big fan of Jimmie Johnson, Michael McDowell, Ryan Reed, Ray Black Jr, and Noah Gragson. I got the chance to meet Jimmie Johnson last year at the NASCAR race. 



Q: How did you get to hand out trophies last year at Sahlen's Six Hours? 
A: Last year during Six Hours my friends and I went to Gatorade Victory Lane with about 15 minutes left in the race to make sure we had a good spot. I was wearing my Sahlen's crew shirt like I do every year, ever since I bought it at my first Six Hours in 2013. When we were standing in Victory Lane, Joe Sahlen yelled out to me to come over to him. He asked me if I wanted to help him and his son hand out the winning glass trophies to all the class winners and podium finishers (the coolest trophies ever, by the way). I, of course, said yes! It was one of the best times of my life but also a little stressful, because I didn't want to drop any of the trophies. It was really cool to get to shake the hands of drivers who I've watched race in IMSA for years. I hope I get to do it again someday! That's me, all the way on the right.



Q: What are some of your favorite memories of The Glen?
I've been coming to The Glen since 2011, and every year my friends Elijah, Josef, and I camp every year on Seneca Lake for the cup weekend. It's a tradition now. 

NASCAR Weekend: One of my favorite memories happened last year during NASCAR weekend. My friends and I were walking through the K&N garage before that evening's K&N Pro Series East race. As we were walking through the garage we saw JA Junior, a K&N driver who is an acquaintance of ours. We went over to him and talked for a few minutes, while some of the cars began to move to the grid. JA had an accident in turn 11 during qualifying earlier, so he never got a time recorded, and they didn't have a backup. So here sits his banged up racecar, going to the back of the field. His guys start to push the car, and needed some extra help. They yelled over to us, "You guys wanna help us push the car to the grid?" We of course were thrilled and agreed to help JA and his crew. 



After pushing this 3400 lb car uphill for quite a distance, we finally got it to pit road. We all just stood there, out of breath and laughing. It was really cool to be part of the crew, even if it was for just a moment. Unfortunately for JA Junior, he had to park the car as soon as the green waved because they didn't want to risk totaling the car. I know that afterwards JA was bummed, but I was glad we could've at least helped him a little bit. Racing is, after all, just one big family.


Opening Weekend: Another great memory I have of Watkins Glen is Opening Weekend in 2016. I found out about it on the WGI Facebook page, where it said you could take your own vehicle around the track. I really didn't believe it, I had never heard of a track letting you do this, so I made sure it was legit and cleared my spring vacation schedule for the event. I made sure I had absolutely nothing else going on so I could go. I asked my mom if she wanted to go with me and she agreed, so when the time came we ventured the 2.5 hour trip to the Finger Lakes Region. When we got there, I couldn't believe the amount of cars. There was a sea of them all lined up, most of them (to my surprise) were classic cars. We signed the waiver, paid our $25 to charity and waited in line. 

When it finally got to our turn to drive around, it was one of the best moments of my life. I was driving my own 2005 Chevy Equinox on a REAL racetrack! This was right after the repave, so the track was incredibly smooth. No bumps, only banking where it was intended. One thing I didn't realize until I drove the track myself was the magnitude of the elevation changes throughout the whole track. We got three awesome laps around WGI and loved every minute of it. Now it's become another yearly tradition for us at The Glen. 




Q: It seems like you have quite the NASCAR collection, how and when did that get started?
A: Just like any kid I played with hot wheels and race cars. I had my little track setups and street maps, you know, the good stuff. We moved when I was 8, in 2005, and my mom was already friends with our new next door neighbors. They were car guys, and when he saw how much I played with cars he brought over a bunch of boxed, collectible classic cars. That's when I started collecting. Ever since then, I kept buying more and more. When I reached a certain age I realized I needed to stop playing with them, so I started collecting them. Along with the cars came shirts, hats, autographed driver cards, posters, banners - anything else you can think of. My focus now is collecting diecast. Maybe one day I'll open my own museum!







Q: You're also into amateur racing photography, when did you start doing that? 
A: Ever since my first NASCAR race in 2007 I've been taking photos. Before my first race, my mom bought a Kodak EasyShare digital camera. We brought it to take a few photos but as the race went on I found myself taking photos of all the cars on track and pit road. Ever since then I've been hooked - I'm obsessed with photographing racecars. I use each race as an opportunity to improve my photography. I currently use a Canon Rebel T3 with a 75-300mm lens. This is one of my favorites. 




Q: So, what's your favorite thing about Watkins Glen?

A: Where the track is located, right by Seneca Lake - in the mountains, it's beautiful. But I also love the esses through the bus stop. It's awesome. I can't wait to be back next week for The I LOVE NEW YORK 355 weekend!

If you want to see more of Aaron's photography or hear more of his racing stories, you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @racer48racer. 


The I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen is August 3-6, 2017. Don't have tickets? Get them by visiting this link. Voted BEST NASCAR TRACK by readers of USA Today, NASCAR weekend at The Glen is sure to be one of the most exciting of the season. A special thanks to Aaron for sitting down with us - and handing out trophies on such short notice!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Watkins Glen International named Best NASCAR Track for second consecutive year

Watkins Glen International has once again been named "Best NASCAR Track" by readers of USA Today. Voting took place over a four-week period, where fans could vote for their favorite track once per day. You can find the full list of best NASCAR tracks HERE



Watkins Glen International would like to thank you, the fans, for making this possible for the second year in a row. We couldn't have done it without you.

The rapidly-approaching I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen on August 3-6 is sure to be an action-packed weekend, featuring the K&N Pro Series East, Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races. Last season, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin both took home wins at The Glen. Who will end up in Gatorade Victory Lane this year?

Don't have tickets? Get your I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen tickets HERE.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Inside the #1 Wine Festival in North America

Watkins Glen International isn't just home to some of the best racing in the US, it's also home to the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival. Showcasing 90+ wineries, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey's Fancy New York's Aritsan Cheese also features regional artisans, live music, culinary classes and cooking demonstrations.

Here are just a few reasons the Finger Lakes Wine Festival is the best in North America.




The Launch of The Lakes toga party on Friday.
What better way is there to kick off a wine-filled weekend than with a toga party? Come to the Launch of the Lakes with your best toga or costume and be crowned King and Queen of the festival. There will be vendors, music, and lots of wine. At 9:30, fireworks will conclude the first day of the festival.



It showcases some of the best wine in New York.
The Finger Lakes Wine festival is a wine-lover's paradise. Spend the weekend in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region with the best regional wines New York has to offer. Whether you enjoy white, red, or rose - there's more than enough to sample while wandering through the various tents around the track. 



There are seminars and cooking demonstrations.

Do you love wine but want to learn more about it? There are wine seminars offered in the Media Center throughout the entire weekend. Women for WineSense will be around to answer any questions you may have about the wine you're tasting. If you're not sure what to pair with certain selections, there are also cooking demonstrations on the second floor of the media center. 



The food.
The Finger Lakes Wine Festival becomes home to hundreds of vendors throughout the weekend. Whether you're in the mood for gourmet burgers or maybe some falafel, there's something for everyone when it comes to food. 


The cheese.
While we're still on the topic of food, we can't forget the cheese. After all, the weekend is sponsored by Yancey's Fancy New York's Artisan Cheese. There are stands located around the festival to sample their amazing variety of cheeses, so make sure to pick up some before leaving for the day. 


Pace car rides.
If you're already at WGI for the weekend, take a fast lap or two around the historic circuit. Grab a few friends and enjoy the ride.



The wide variety of entertainment. 
Throughout the weekend, there's never a dull moment. There are concerts, performances, and live entertainment on multiple stages during the day and at nighttime. Enjoy local & international talent while sampling food and wine or shopping at the vendors' stands. 



The Foam Party.
At 7pm on Saturday night, WGI is the place to be. Year after year, the foam party proves to be one the highlights of the festival. For just $5, you can enjoy music from DJ Samborn and dance the night away. Just be prepared to be covered in foam by the end!




These are just a few reasons why the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival was voted the best in America by readers of USA Today. Whether it's wine, food, or foam, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey's Fancy Artisan Cheese has a lot to offer. Want tickets? Visit www.flwinefest.com for tickets and more information. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

10 Things to Know for Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen

10 Things to Know for Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen

Whether it's your first or fifth time, the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen is one of the most exciting events of the season at Watkins Glen International. Here are 10 things you should know to get the most out of your race weekend.

#1: Always carry a Sharpie.

Since the paddock is open to fans for the whole weekend, you never know who you might run into. Be sure to carry a sharpie or pen with you at all times just in case you spot your favorite driver. Maybe you'll even get to catch some of Jordan Taylor's off-track antics.



#2: Earplugs are important.

IMSA brings some of the coolest cars in motorsports to The Glen. With this awesome power comes noise, however. Make sure you have earplugs or some sort of ear protection when you're getting up close and personal with the cars.



#3: Eat.

At WGI, don't leave the track without having a legendary Glendog. It even has its own Twitter account! There's also an annual Sahlen's hot dog eating contest at the Jack Daniel's Summer Stage. When in Rome...



#4: Don't forget the sunscreen.

Whether you're camping at The Glen or just visiting for the day, make sure you pack a lot of sunscreen. The grandstands can get especially sunny, so sunscreen and a hat is a must. This guy has the right idea.



#5: Check out the Midway.

Who isn't a fan of free stuff? Walking down the Midway could land you with things like lanyards or stickers. Eat, drink, or see how well you'd do as a member of the pit crew. And be sure to come to the Tweet-Up in Gatorade Victory Lane to test your racing knowledge -- you might walk away with some serious WGI swag.




#6: Take advantage of the #views.
The Glen is one of the most scenic places in racing. Take in the beautiful view of Seneca Lake before the race, then head to the Esses or the Boot to catch the action. After all, you do have six whole hours. 



#7: Bring a crew.
The best way to enjoy a race weekend is with your friends. Get together with other race fans and set up a viewing spot somewhere on track. Know someone under the age of 12? Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen weekend is free for them. Get 'em started young! 



#8: There are Lambos, Porsches and Sportscars galore.
Before the Continental 120 and the Six Hours of The Glen, make sure you catch some action on track during the Lamborghini Super Trofeo race and the Porsche GT3 Cup. If you don't know much about these series, this and this might help. 



#9: Check out the Continental Tire 120.
Last year, the Continental Tire SportsCar race was action-packed, complete with side-by-side racing through the esses (which is crazy, by the way), some off-track adventures and last-lap battles for the lead. The Minis proved that while they are small, they are powerful. Who will get to the podium this year?



#10: Enjoy Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
There's nothing quite like waking up on race day.Unlike a lot of races, this one lasts all day, so fans get the chance to watch the race from many different vantage points.

The Boot, the Esses and the Inner Loop are all great places to watch from. Pre-race festivities begin at 9:00am with a fan walk on track, with the green flag dropping at 10:10am. Who will make it to Gatorade Victory Lane this year?




Don't have tickets? Get your race and weekend tickets for Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen HERE.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Watkins Glen International Nominated for Best NASCAR Track



Race fans, we need your help.

Watkins Glen International has once again been nominated for Best NASCAR Track by USA TODAY.

Help WGI hold their two-year streak by voting for Best NASCAR Track HERE
You can vote once per day for the run of the contest, which goes until July 17th, 2017. Get voting!

Once you're finished, why not pick up some tickets for NASCAR at The Glen?